With the newfound excitement for Intel’s upcoming 10th generation, ‘Comet Lake‘ CPUs comes the perfect opportunity to plan a brand-new PC build around the LGA1200-accommodating Z490 motherboard. Like forming a strong and sturdy chain, each component of a PC setup must match together harmoniously, for the last thing you want is for one of these links to be too weak or misaligned. The best way to optimize the overall synergy between hardware units is to carefully, and not hastily, plan out the setup based both on manufacturing brand and specifications.
For a mid-end, gaming dedicated build, the i5-10600K is the best option out of Intel’s new 10th generation processors. With its newfound ability to hyperthread, the i5-10600K features a six-core, twelve-thread count that can reach an impressive 4.1 GHz base operating frequency, which is overclockable to 4.8 GHz. If this type of build interests you, then you are going to want to pair the i5-10600K with 16 GB DDR4 RAM, 3000-3200 MHz speeds, and a CAS latency of 15 and below. Note that poor RAM can also bottleneck your CPU, as proven via Gamers Nexus benchmarks, which display how an i5-10600K can outperform even its superior i9-10900K, due to RAM throttling issues. Next, you’ll want at least 1 TB SSD ROM, preferably M.2 NVMe – though you’ll have to settle with PCIe 3.0, as Intel CPUs are not yet compatible with PCIe 4.0. Next, you’ll want proper cooling for the i5-10600K, as it lacks a stock cooler (check out our article for the best CPU coolers for the i5-10600K). When choosing a PSU for the powering the setup, do note that the i5-10600K has quite a high TDP of 125W, so you will have to accommodate for that. Depending on the number of storage units, and the GPU you choose, you are going to want a PSU of around 750W.
Speaking of the GPU, this is a component where a good portion of your budget will be allocated to, and as such, you are going to want the best quality and performance you can get for the money you spend. Contingent to the type of build you are planning to make, the required specifications of the GPU will change, and to accommodate these variations we have created a list of the best GPUs depending on different tasks. Firstly, we will list the best small form factor GPU to match with the i5-10600K, for those seeking to build an SFF or HTPC setup. Next, we’ll list the best budget GPU for the i5-10600K, that will work best for gamers that are more-so interested in online multiplayer and competitive e-sport titles. Finally, we will also list the best GPUs for those looking forward to playing triple-A titles, and upcoming next-generation games set to release towards the end of the year.
Best GPUs for i5-10600K – Our Recommendations
Best SFF GPU for i5-10600K Builds
Currently the most powerful low-profile GPU in the market, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 boasts a base clock speed of 1485 MHz and a boost clock speed of 1665 MHz; which can go up to 1740 MHz depending on the aftermarket model. Its effective clock speed is 2000 MHz (8 Gbps) and it has 2,661 giga flops of FP32 computing power. This GPU is built via Nvidia’s 12nm manufacturing process and Turing architecture, featuring 896 CUDA cores, 56 TMUs, and 32 ROPs. In terms of memory it has 4 GB of GDDR6 VRAM with a 128-bit bus width and 128 GB/s bandwidth. The thermal design power it requires is only 75W, which does make up for the increased 125W TDP of the i5-10600K.
As a GPU for an HTPC, the GTX 1650 can stream videos of up to 8K resolutions and can accommodate multiple monitors, so it is ideal for streaming Netflix or YouTube videos at their maximum resolutions. As a gaming machine, average user benchmarks show us that this GPU is capable of effective refresh rates at even above the 60 FPS mark (on a 1080p resolution), for most online competitive multiplayer games. Together with the power of the i5-10600K and its hyperthreading capabilities, it may even be able to reach such values for more hardware demanding, triple-A titles.
A couple of recommended GTX 1650 aftermarket models would be the ASUS Low Profile OC which retails at $205, or the MSI Gaming Low Profile (pictured), which has less boost clock speeds but sells for only $159.
Best Budget GPU for i5-10600K
If you’re looking for pure value when it comes to 60+ FPS at 1080p, then the best GPU you can get is Nvidia’s GTX 1650 Super. Despite its incredibly low price, it features a base clock speed of 1530 MHz and a boost clock speed of 1725 MHz, (going up to 1830 MHz for Gigabyte’s aftermarket model). It has a memory clock frequency of 1500 MHz (12 Gbps) together with a computing power of 3,917 GFLOPS, 1280 CUDA cores, 80 TMUs, and 32 ROPs. Like the aforementioned SFF GTX 1650, it has 4 GB GDDR6 VRAM and a 128-bit memory bus width, though a significantly higher 192 GB/s memory bandwidth. It has a slightly increased thermal design power of 100W, though still less than the 125W of the i5-10600K. For those looking to stream their gaming experience, it also has a dedicated software encoder that allows for gaming and streaming simultaneously.
When paired with the i5-10600K, the GTX 1650 Super will easily play the majority of existing titles at well above 60 frames per second on a 1080p resolution monitor – including popular single player titles, as shown in benchmarks from AnandTech and TweakTown. Of course, there will be some games that won’t play on their highest graphical settings, but for the majority of games this GPU hits the sweet spot of reaching 60 FPS at 1080p; and does so at a great price.
You can currently find aftermarket models of the GTX 1650 Super for as low as $164, like the ASUS Overclocked Phoenix Fan edition, or $169 for MSI’s Super Ventus XS OC model – but the one AIB we model (as featured in our AIB roundup article) is the ASUS TUF GAMING OC variant (pictured). If pure value is what you are looking for, then the i5-10600K and the Nvidia GTX GeForce 1650 Super will suit you just fine; especially if you are saving up for the upcoming Nvidia 3000 series GPUs.
Best Mid-Range GPU for i5-10600K
The Nvidia option, the RTX 2060 Super, is a ray-tracing GPU, build around Nvidia’s 12nm structure. The reference card features a base clock frequency of 1470 MHz, and a boost clock frequency of 1650 MHz – though aftermarket models do exist that can reach up to 1860 MHz. Memory wise it has 8192 GB of GDDR6 V-RAM, paired with a bus width of 256-bit, and a bandwidth of 448 GB/s. The effective memory clock speed is 1750 MHz, or 14 Gbps. Computing power-wise, it has 6,397 GFLOPS, 2176 CUDA cores, 136 TMUs and 64 ROPs. Finally, in regards to power consumption, it requires 175W; meaning that together with the 125W of the i5-10600K, a 650-700W PSU will suffice for most builds.
Competing against this Nvidia GPU is AMD’s, RDNA powered, Radeon RX 5700. Specification wise, it is very similar to the 2060 Super, featuring a base clock speed of 1465 MHz, and a boost clock of 1625 MHz. The difference here lies with the aftermarket models, where the RX 5700 increase both base and boost clock speeds instead of just the latter. Thus, you can find an aftermarket model with a base clock of 1610 MHz and boost clock of 1725 MHz. In terms of memory, the two GPUs are identical, both in size as well as in effective speeds. The computing power of the RX 5700 is slightly higher, with 6,751 GFLOPS, 2304 CUDA cores, 144 TMUs, and 64 ROPs. This results in an equivalently small increase in thermal design power of 5 watts (180W total). The interface of AMD’s RX 5700 is PCIe 4.0×16, versus the PCIe 3.0 x16 of the 2060 Super.
In terms of benchmarks taken under the same Intel CPU (9600K), the two GPUs offer very similar results, depending on the game. For competitive multiplayer games, both GPUs have over 120 FPS scores, with games like Counter Strike: GO and Overwatch giving an advantage to the 2060 Super, while games like Fortnite and Modern Warfare: Warzone give the advantage to the Radeon RX 5700. All in all, both these GPUs can easily handle competitive multiplayers at 1080p and 144Hz, while also reaching the minimum 60 FPS refresh rates for most AAA games – results which will be amplified with the processing power of the i5-10600K.
In terms of price, AMD’s Radeon RX 5700 is listed at $349, and the Nvidia RTX 2060 Super is slightly more expensive at $399. If you are looking to save some money, then the Radeon RX 5700 is a safe bet, but in the end, the choice will purely depend on your preference between AMD and Nvidia products, as both options are suitable pairings for the 10th generation i5-10600K Intel CPU.
Best GPUs for Triple-A Gaming with the i5-10600K
For gaming titles that are much more hardware demanding, like flagship single-player games that are known for their remarkable visuals and graphical realism, a much more powerful GPU will be needed.
In order to accomplish the feat of processing such games at their highest graphical settings, and at framerates above 120 FPS, Nvidia has released their RTX 2080 Super; and AMD’s response: the RX 5700 XT.
Specifications wise, the 2080 Super is the superior GPU, as it features a base clock and boost clock speeds of 1650 MHz and 1815 MHz respectively; boasting 10,138 GFLOPS, 3072 CUDA cores, 192 TMUs and 64 ROPs. It has an effective memory clock of 1936 (15488) MHz, 8GB of GDDR6 RAM, and a memory bandwidth of 495.62 GB/s. In comparison, the RX 5700 XT has a base clock speed of 1605 MHz, a boost clock of 1755 MHz, a computing power of 8,218 GFLOPS, 2560 CUDA cores, 160 TMUs and 64 ROPs. Like the 2080 Super, it also features 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM and the same 256-bit memory bus width. It has a slightly smaller TDP of 225W, versus the 250W of the 2080 Super.
In terms of benchmarks, the results are mixed, as there are certain games that the RX 5700 XT actually outperforms the RTX 2080 Super, like for example Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey (a highly graphical demanding single player title), where it reached 90.8 FPS (versus 89.7 FPS of the 2080S), or Forza Horizon 4 at 1440p (98.8 FPS vs 98.4 FPS). Of course, it does fall back in several other titles, like Shadow of the Tomb Raider (105.5 FPS vs 127.5 FPS), F1 2019 (126.4 FPS vs 143.8 FPS), Metro Exodus (79.9 FPS vs 75 FPS) and others, but for the difference in price between these two GPUs, these discrepancies are small enough to be in favor of the RX 5700 XT. The reference RTX GeForce 2080 Super has a price tag of $699, while the Radeon RX 5700 XT is priced at only $399. Unfortunately, the RX 5700 XT does have some overheating issues, as AMD has made this GPU to only throttles when hitting 110 degrees Celsius, which is a high enough temperature to put other hardware components at risk in the PC case. Therefore, if one opts for this GPU, have an ample supply cooling will paramount, not only for the GPU but for the other hardware components as well. If this issue is addressed, then this GPU offers an amazing amount of graphical processing power for its price.
Once again, which unit is best for you relies solely on your preference and budget. If you don’t mind sacrificing some GPU power in order to save $300 (maybe $200, as you’ll want that $100 for some extra cooling), then the AMD RX 5700 XT is right for you. On the other hand, if you are a fan of Nvidia and prefer the reliability of their GPUs, as well as the ray tracing built into their 2000 series GPUs, then the RTX 2080 Super is another excellent choice to pair with the i5-10600K.